Part I: John Lydon “Anger Is An Energy” (NGR IZ N NRG), (2021), Music: Casino by The Notwist
"After a lecture in Manchester last year I was asked about the place of anger in my practice. I quickly realized that it is often an important motivation, and when I began this group of works I thought about John Lydon’s lyric and the title of his most recent memoir, “Anger Is An Energy.” He opens the book with a discusion of the conception and production of P.I.L.’s song “Rise,” where that phrase is part of its chorus, I chose the text deliberately considering Lydon’s turn to the right as a fan of Donald Trump, and the embrace of “disruptive” social and discursive tactics by numerous contemporary right-wing politicians. When considering music for the video, The Notwist’s song ‘Casino” ultimately came to mind as a contrasting look at the contradictions of creative practice today, and The Notwist’s own history as a hardcore punk band." - Tony Cokes, 2021
John Lydon has secured prime position as one of the most recognizable icons in the annals of music history. As Johnny Rotten, he was the lead singer of the Sex Pistols - the world's most notorious band, who shot to fame in the mid-1970s with singles such as 'Anarchy in the UK' and 'God Save the Queen'. So revolutionary was his influence, he was even discussed in the Houses of Parliament, under the Traitors and Treasons Act, which still carries the death penalty. Via his music and invective he spearheaded a generation of young people across the world who were clamouring for change - and found it in the style and attitude of this most unlikely figurehead. With his next band, Public Image Ltd (PiL) Lydon expressed an equally urgent impulse in his make-up - the constant need to reinvent himself, to keep moving. From their beginnings in 1978 he set the groundbreaking template for a band that continues to challenge and thrive in the 2010s. He also found time for making innovative new dance records with the likes of Afrika Baambaata and Leftfield. Following the release of a solo record in 1997, John took a sabbatical from his music career into other media, most memorably his own Rotten TV show for VH1 and as the most outrageous contestant ever on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! He then fronted the Megabugs series and one-off nature documentaries and even turned his hand to a series of much loved TV advertisements for Country Life butter. Lydon has remained a compelling and dynamic figure - both as a musician, and, thanks to his outspoken, controversial, yet always heartfelt and honest statements, as a cultural commentator. His book "Anger Is An Energy" is a fresh and mature look back on a life full of incident from his beginnings as a sickly child of immigrant Irish parents who grew up in post-war London, to his present status as a vibrant, alternative national hero.
CLICK HERE to read the introduction to Anger Is An Energy by John Lydon.
Question 3: Hans Ulrich Obrist x Tony Cokes discuss Part I (Week 1: 1-7 February): John Lydon “Anger Is An Energy” (NGR IZ N NRG). Music: Casino by The Notwist.
Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968 in Zurich, CH) is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show “World Soup” (The Kitchen Show) in 1991 he has curated more than 300 shows. In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, and in 2015 he was awarded the International Folkwang Prize for his commitment to the arts. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions, and is contributing editor to several magazines and journals. His recent publications include “Conversations in Mexico”, “Ways of Curating”, “The Age of Earthquakes” with Douglas Coupland and Shumon Basar, and “Lives of The Artists, Lives of The Architects”.